Student Spotlight

Reflections on My Lab Rotation: Zignat Courtoux

from bench to bedside to bench Spencer King

Lab experience
No animals were harmed in the course of this experiment

I could begin this write-up by enumerating all of the laboratory techniques I learned, observed, and performed. I could speak about the wide ranges of methods I followed in a single project— from measurement of antioxidant activity by various assays and spectrophotometry, to cell culture, to clinical data collection—but those are outlined in much more detail in my lab diary.
Instead, I would like to write about the nascent but fundamental changes in my thought processes, attributable to what I learned in my first significant basic research experience.

First of all, my approach to problems—not only in the laboratory, but also in my daily life—has become more methodical. I isolate variables and test them individually to try to discover the source of the complication.

Secondly, I was able to see firsthand just how synergistic science is. We learn all through university that medicine is about teamwork, but popular culture presents the scientist as a lone figure. Even with an understanding of scientific literature and importance of a scientific community, the mental image one has is of many lone groups doing work, presenting it, and sharing it in a distant, sterile way.

Instead, I experienced many collaborations, both within Dr. Samaja’s group and with other groups in the hospital, often in very different fields; science is, in the end, just as much of a joint effort as medicine.

My passion for research has only been piqued and stoked during my month in the laboratory, and I can’t wait to see what I will learn in my next rotation.


Zignat Courtoux Zignat Courtoux

Virgilio 2° Cohort,

University of Milan